In the upcoming film, Imperium, Daniel Radcliffe plays the part of undercover FBI agent trying to prevent a Neo-Nazi terrorist group from deploying a bomb.
Many actors get subtle expressions wrong. They very often put on a more extreme expression where more moderate or subtle examples would be more contextual and proportionate to many scenes. What follows however are several specific examples where Radcliffe triumphs at these more mild expressions.
Radcliffe's character (Nate Foster) is pictured here sitting in a vehicle. His mouth is slightly opened in a variation of a "slack jawed" configuration (indicating emotional shock).
Note that his head/neck is tilted down. Radcliffe is staring forward and down - and more specifically focused on the middle distance. This is focusing past or looking through near objects also indicates emotional shock and emotional processing. The actor is showing us that his character's mind knows has just gleaned some shocking information, but his emotional brain has yet to fully grasp the ramifications.
This nonverbal cluster/facial expression is under-utilized by many actors and directors.
In the image above we see exemplified a subtle Elevated Central Forehead Contraction (elevated CFC). Very few actors are able to display this crucial nonverbal signal - although in the real world this slight facial dynamic (often short lived as well) speaks volumes about the presence of physical or emotional pain (either felt directly or experienced secondarily via empathy).
Slicing this expression even thinner, what specific emotional pain emotion is Radcliffe acting in this moment?
Three seconds later, Radcliffe's elevated CFC is more pronounced - perhaps a 6 or 7 (on a zero to 10 scale). Although more developed than the image at 1:00, this example is still somewhat less developed than many actors express (It's as if they only have a "full on" or "full off" forehead contraction).
In this last photo, Daniel Radcliffe's elevated CFC is even more subtle that the first example. Also look at the actor's eyes. His head is looking forward/slight to his left and yet his eyes are moving to his right. When we don't look directly at person, but only tract with our eyes - it's a signal that we don't like, don't respect or don't believe/don't trust the person at whom were looking.
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